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Arkansas Bans Transgender Students From Using School Bathrooms Matching Their Gender Identity

Topline

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a law Tuesday that bans transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity in public schools, the latest in a series of targeted legislative moves in GOP-led states.

Key Facts

The law applies to all “multiple occupancy restrooms and locker rooms” at public and charter schools across the state.

School superintendents, principals and teachers who violate the law may face minimum fines of at least $1,000, while parents are also allowed to take legal action to make sure it’s enforced.

The law, which won’t go into effect until later this year, was passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature last week.

Schools will also be required to provide “reasonable accommodation,” including single occupancy restrooms, to any individual who is “unwilling or unable” to use a multi occupancy restroom “designated for the individual’s sex.”

Arkansas is now the fourth state after Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in public schools.

Key Background

The bill signed by Sanders on Tuesday is one of many legislative efforts targeting transgender people being pushed through the legislatures of Republican-led states. Lawmakers in 11 other states—Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Texas—are pushing through bathroom bills similar to the Arkansas legislation. The Idaho and Iowa bills are yet to be signed by governors after being passed by the states’ legislatures last week. Earlier this month, the Arkansas Senate passed a more extreme version of the bathroom bill, which would allow a transgender person to be charged with “misdemeanor sexual indecency with a child” if they use a public restroom matching their gender identity while a minor is present.

Big Number

More than 435. That’s how many bills targeting LGBTQ+ people are moving through the legislatures of 37 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The Arkansas law,10 such bills have passed into law this year, and eight more are on governor’s desks awaiting passage.

Further Reading

Arkansas restricts school bathroom use by transgender people (Associated Press)

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